A New York Times Noteable Book
Mesmerizing, exhilarating, and profoundly moving, Mr. Peanut is a police procedural of the soul, a poignant investigation of the relentlessly mysterious human heart.
David Pepin has been in love with his wife, Alice, since the moment they met in a university seminar on Alfred Hitchcock. After thirteen years of marriage, he still can’t imagine a remotely happy life without her—yet he obsessively contemplates her demise. Soon she is dead, and David is both deeply distraught and the prime suspect.
The detectives investigating Alice’s suspicious death have plenty of personal experience with conjugal enigmas: Ward Hastroll is happily married until his wife inexplicably becomes voluntarily and militantly bedridden; and Sam Sheppard is especially sensitive to the intricacies of marital guilt and innocence, having decades before been convicted and then exonerated of the brutal murder of his wife. Like the Escher drawings that inspire the computer games David designs for a living, these complex, interlocking dramas are structurally and emotionally intense, subtle, and intriguing; they brilliantly explore the warring impulses of affection and hatred, and pose a host of arresting questions. Is it possible to know anyone fully, completely? Are murder and marriage two sides of the same coin, each endlessly recycling into the other? And what, in the end, is the truth about love?
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Novelist Adam Ross explores the dark side of marriage in his thought-provoking and terrifying debut. Computer game designer David Pepin truly loves his depressive wife Alice but also fantasizes about killing her. When the severely allergic Alice dies after ingesting peanuts, David becomes the prime suspect. Deliberate and unflinching, Mr. Peanut examines three spousal relationships and their puzzling complexities. Despite its bleakest moments, it’s a surprisingly evocative, slyly humorous, and ultimately hopeful investigation of the married mind.
Ross's inspired debut explores the "proximity of violence and love" and begins with the death of Alice Pepin, whose lifelong struggle with depression, insecurity, and obesity comes to an abrupt end at her kitchen table when she is found dead with a peanut lodged in her throat. She has suffered suicide by anaphylactic shock or so claims her husband, David, a quiet computer game programmer obsessed with M.C. Escher, Hitchcock, and working and re-working a draft of his unpublished novel, a violent possible masterpiece. Gradually, the two detectives on the case begin to see disturbing parallels between their own marital dramas and the Pepins' cruel rotations of brinkmanship and adoration. Ross's depiction of love is grotesque and tender at once, and his style is commanding as he combines torture and romance to create a sense of vertigo-as-romance. It's a unique book stark and sublime, creepy and fearless that readers into the darker end of the literary spectrum won't want to miss.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Ross's book is hard to follow though very intriguing at times, but I felt the author was trying too hard to impress and/or confuse, so overall a frustrating book. I would consider giving him another try however...EAF